the tasting menus
- A Tour of the Regions>/li>
- A Speyside Saunter>/li>
- ’Smoke on the Water‘>/li>
- ’Island Hopping‘>/li>
- Off the Beaten Track>/li>
A can of fruit cocktail! This is light and sweet with just a hint of spice-heat and vanilla. Hints of garden centre mark this squarely as a Lowland whisky.
Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
A tropical shoreline of a whisky with lime and grapefruit mixing with sea air. Vanilla and milk chocolate bring the sweetness so typical of the Highland region.
Glenfarclas 10 Year Old
Toffee apple and pine, like the start of bonfire night! Signature Speyside richness and depth make this a perennial favourite.
Highland Park 12 Year Old
A nice whiff of smoke next to a seaweed note, like a barbecue at the beach. This Islander has something for everyone and is a great way to explore peaty whiskies.
Ardbeg 10 Year Old
Smoke with just enough lemon freshness to stop it being a bonfire. Couldn‘t be more typical of Islay‘s style and one to finally decide if smoky whiskies are your thing!
Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old
A dessert malt if ever there was one! Honey sweet and smooth as silk, this is almost wine-like in its approachability.
Tamdhu 10 Year Old
The best apple pie you‘ve ever had. Sweet apple, cinnamon and even a bit of chocolate make this a heavy hitter from a young age! There‘s even vanilla, like ice cream.
Glendronach 15 Year Old ’Revival‘
One of the most reliable distilleries out there, this bottling is rich, sherried and an instant classic. It also has a deep, dark secret to be revealed!
Linkwood 15 Year Old
An independent bottling of a Speyside legend, this is meatier (ham or fatty pork, but nicer than that sounds) than most Speysiders and repays return visits to the glass since it evolves quite dramatically over time.
Benriach Birnie Moss
Another one with a dark secret! I could tell you more, but then... it‘d spoil the surprise.
Bruichladdich 10 Year Old
An unpeated Islay, this is unusual for that fact alone, but also being delicate and slightly tropical makes this a truly singular whisky.
A farm distillery on Islay and the newest to release whisky to the market, this is truly craft distilling. Since their whisky is released in small stocks, the actual whisky may vary but all will have that signature Islay smoke with just a little maritime note as well!
Bowmore 12 Year Old
They use some of most heavily peated barley in the business, but balance all that smoke with a sweetness and light lemon touch that makes this a superbly balanced whisky.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old
The great ’Marmite‘ of whiskies! Everyone will have their own idea for how this tastes and no-one will be on the fence. Smoky, seaweedy, TCP-y and one of the most talked about whiskies at any tasting.
One of the most combative whiskies I‘ve tasted, and one of the most exciting. Thick, powerfully peated, complex and still somehow harmonious, this is comfortably one of the best value whiskies on the market and a perennial MaltNerd favourite!
Tobermory 10 Year Old
The Isle of Mull produces this wonderfully light and refreshing whisky that serves as a great introduction to the range the islands can produce. Floral and sweet but with a buttery richness and spice, this is well-crafted whisky.
Arran 14 Year Old
A real malty marvel, this whisky actually does a great job of showcasing the grain that makes the spirit, and surprisingly few do that. This is fruity and very, very lightly peated with just enough of that signature island wildness to satisfy.
Islay‘s sister island produces this unctuous and delicious malt that delivers the peat you‘d expect but with a smoothness its near neighbours might struggle to match.
Highland Park 15 Year Old
A nice whiff of smoke next to a seaweed note, like a barbecue at the beach. This Orcadian has something for everyone.
Typically independent and forthright whisky from the Isle of Skye, this takes no prisoners in its peat and pepper aroma. There‘s citrus peel to take the edge off and a lovely oak-vanilla sweetness to calm the fires as well.
Tweeddale 12 Year Old
A small batch, independent blend based on the founder’s great grandfather’s recipe. Premium and unusual.
Aberfeldy 12 Year Old
A forgotten classic that’s just had a packaging makeover. This whisky actually tastes like a distillery smells - fantastic.
Hazelburn 12 Year Old
A sherried Campbeltown malt from the Springbank distillery, where they always have a few tricks up their sleeve.
A bittersweet malt from the Highlands. It’s ‘Fasque’ stablemate is well known but this variant is harder to come by.
Ileach Cask Strength
A big Islay whisky from a mystery distillery on the island, this is a punchy way to finish.
On with ‘the proceedings’ – the Tasting Format
There’s no such thing as a ‘standard’ tasting, I’ll structure the tasting to suit your level of knowledge and specific interests. But typically…
You’ll usually have all your drams in front of you and I’ll do a guided tasting of the first one so everyone is up to speed on the mechanics (there’s swirling and sniffing and sucking and all sorts, so it helps to see me make a fool of myself first) and after that I really like to hear what the room has to say about each whisky, although I can never resist adding my own tuppence-worth as well.
I always introduce each whisky, talking about where it’s from and anything noteworthy about how it’s made, so there is a veneer of education to every tasting. I’ll even do my best to answer questions throughout the tasting, since people somehow(!) gain the confidence to ask as the tasting goes on.
I encourage people to take their time and enjoy the whiskies, so a 5 dram tasting usually lasts about 90 minutes or so. I don’t sell the whiskies themselves but I can always send you the way of my dealer/ supplier if you particularly enjoyed something.